According to the latest report on consumer behavior during the coronavirus crisis published in vegconomist, the global vegan news magazine, during this time period of health uncertainty, people are seeking food and drinks that carry "immune-boosting" qualities, along with medicinal foods and other items that they think will keep them healthy during the current time of health crisis. The following piece appeared there. If you like it,  consider subscribing to vegconomist (which has readers in over 160 countries) or making a donation to the vegan news magazine. Here is a link to the full story.

In this time of global pandemic, consumers are increasingly aware of their health the best ways to defend it. Tastewise says that while the past year has seen a huge uptake of interest in food and beverage with functional benefits, the current climate is seeing “staggering growth” in this area.
The new findings include the following:
  • ‘Immune system’ as the desired function of food and beverage is rising +66% MoM. Typically, as we approach Spring, we expect to see less of this. However, current concerns have boosted that interest.
  • Immunity, stress relief, medicinal benefits, and more are all skyrocketing. It is more important now than ever for food industry players to understand what solutions consumers look for in stressful times, and why. The coronavirus has everyone worried and the "worried well" are buying foods they believe will help keep them healthy.

Top three ways consumers are trying to boost their health

Immune system: +27% social increase // 36% user growth

  • Interest in the “immune system” is up 66% Month over Month (MoM). Usually, as we are getting closer to the end of winter we expect to see less of this function – but Covid-19 changed that.
  •  Example: Elderberry is up +108% in consumer conversations at home about “immune system” foods.
 Stress relief:
  • Staying calm and fighting stress is Increasingly relevant as consumers find themselves in a time of health, social and economic upheaval. The motivation is experiencing +12% YoY growth and will likely drastically increase moving forward.
  • Example: Rosemary is up 114% Year over Year (YoY) for “stress relief” searches.

Sickness treatments:

  • Food-based sickness treatments help people to take a proactive approach to preserve their health; 45% more consumers YoY are focused on this quality. We expect to see that number climb over the coming months.
  • Example: Trending hashtag #sickday on social media.

4 ingredients that support consumer health efforts:

  • Melon is up +28% for sickness treatment
    • Fruits, like citrus, are well known for their health-protecting qualities; vitamin-c-rich melon is demonstrating very early signals of a potential trend for health benefits.
    • For example, Bitter melon is known in non-western medicine for its healing properties.
  • Kombucha: +73% for medicinal
    • Kombucha pairs gut health with medicinal ingredients like passionfruit and mushrooms.
    • The medicinal functions of mushrooms are up +55% in popularity, YoY.
  • Pickles: +18.5% for immune system
    • Pickling immunity-boosting ingredients like radishes/carrots enables them to last longer and provides a much-needed health boost.
    • In addition to the ingredients themselves, the pickling process also offers health benefits. The popularity of fermentation as a preparation method is up +11% YoY and growing.
  • Chamomile: +81.5%  for anti-inflammatory benefits
    • Chamomile is well-known for its relaxing properties in tea; consumers are beginning to use the flower for anti-inflammatory purposes.
    • In uncertain times, consumers go with what they know to provide comfort and boost health.

For more trends from Tastewise, you can subscribe to their emails here. 

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